Everybody has an opinion about the Monarchy, whether you swelled with pride whilst watching the whole proceedings, or tried to remain as distant from the Jubilee celebrations as possible, on a four-day holiday dedicated to 60 years of the Queen’s reign what do we think about the Queen and what she represents? Here, Tom Pinchbeck argues that the Monarchy is outdated as a representative of modern Britain and our national achievements and values.
By Tom Pinchbeck
The standard question asked of any Briton abroad is ‘Have you met the Queen?’ In situ I find this incredibly charming, the idea that I, among the 60 million inhabitants of Great Britain might have met our Head of State always makes me smile. Despite this, the more I think about it, the more it worries me. Are this family, whose descendents were responsible for murders, burnings and executions, really the face my country shows to the outside world, the sample that is representative of our nation for so many people?
It would appear that they are. The American company CNN announced yesterday it would be airing the ‘Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant’, ‘Royal Carriage Procession’, ‘Kate and Wills: First Anniversary’, ‘Harry: The Fighter Prince’ (my personal favourite) along with several other ‘The Only Way Is Windsor’ style shows. As enjoyable as I’m sure the programmes will be, they are slightly concerning. While possibly being biased as a student of history, I would much rather people knew of the more important and impressive things that Britain has given the world, the flushing toilet, the smallpox vaccine, even Viagra. It should not stop there, Britain’s contribution to culture, cuisine, society, technology and science is something the world should know about.
The way to show the world the contribution we have made is to remove the Royal Family. It is a rotten entity that can thrust people as poorly prepared as Prince Andrew and Prince Philip on to the world stage. We must stop glorifying a system that, through an accident of birth, could give us someone like Joey Barton as the head of the state, the army and the church (yes, he was the least suited person I could think of). Instead, a system that promotes excellence, effort and achievement seems to me far more in line with modern British ideas than one that entrenches a stagnant social structure. This way, those most exposed to the outside world could be a true reflection of modern Britain, forward-looking, creative and energetic as opposed to the archaic demeanour we currently give off.